Savage grateful to family on debut!

Xavier Savage debut

Savage grateful to family on debut!

Kinda dusty in here! Xavier Savage is a young Indigenous rugby league player from Cairns about to make his Raiders debut. Raised by single mother Erica he has battled homesickness almost leaving the Raiders earlier in the year.

His mother, grandmother and 3 sisters could not be there for his jersey presentation but instead gave their love via Zoom. Xavier is another young player trying to make his family proud and repay them for their support.

“My mum being a single parent of four kids, it was kind of hard paying for sports trips,” Savage told

“She has been the best. My mum worked her butt off for me to get the opportunities she did, like me making representative teams and her having to afford that.

“She tried her hardest to raise money. She used to sell cupcakes around Cairns to family and friends, she used to make up raffles or anything just to raise enough money for me to go away on trips and I am so grateful for that.

Savage’s rise to first grade has been a family affair with extended family stepping up to help: “My uncles were all like big brothers to me. They kept my head straight. It was tough, not being able to get the things most kids do and the opportunities that most kids get but I am lucky to have such a supportive family back in Cairns.”

In addition to homesickness, Savage has had to overcome a syndesmosis injury and two hamstring tears and has spent a lot of time in injury rehabilitation.

Savage has mixed ancestry with Aboriginal on one side (Birra Gubbi and Gungganyiji) and Torres Strait Islander heritage on the other (Erub Island). He played his junior league for the Cairns Brothers & after moving to Brisbane was a promising rugby union player for Brisbane Boys College.

Many fans are excited with the debut of Savage who is a genuine athletic speedster who once ran 10.95 secs to win the 100m event at the 2018 Queensland Junior Athletics Championships and was also the under 17s 200m and long jump champion.

Coach Ricky Stuart has also made sure his debut is a family affair telling AAP: “Just talking to his mother this week I can sense that excitement in her voice and I can actually see it in Xavier’s training.”

Rugby league brings great pride to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander families and is the only sport to be created on a principle – that all should be able to play the game.

Go well Xavier you’ve already made your mum and family so proud!

Image source: Canberra Raiders

Patrick Skene

Patrick Skene is a founder and Chief Creative Officer of Cultural Pulse. Patrick works with over 100 communities and creates compelling content for clients to engage with them. He is a storyteller, marketer, writer and author of ‘The Big O, The Life & Times of Olsen Filipaina‘ which has gone into reprint. His stories on the intersection of sport, history and culture have been published by The Guardian Australia, the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and Inside Sport. He is currently the proud coach of the Rockdale Raiders Under 8B1’s football team.